5 CEOs Most Strongly Associated With Their Companies
For reason that are both good and bad, CEOs have been able to become celebrities in the United States and across the globe.
The majority of large corporations work very hard to establish a public image that is geared towards a certain message or a particular demographic of people. On occasion, however, the CEO behind these messages and carefully packaged images becomes so famous and heavily associated with the company that the person and the corporation nearly merge into one another. For reason that are both good and bad, CEOs have been able to become celebrities in the United States and across the globe. The ability of a single forward-thinking company to change the lives of everyone has been integral in making this happen.
A Bite of the Apple
Steve Jobs became synonymous with the Apple corporation roughly around the time that the iPhone began to dominate the smartphone market. He already had quite the underground following prior to this advance, but the steps forward in technology that he was spear-heading made him a superstar. This billionaire completely changed the way people were thinking about and interacting with their personal computers. He spent a brief period of time working with pioneering gaming company Atari before forming the Apple corporation with Steve Wozniak. Under his leadership, the company earned the title “America’s Most Admired Company” four years in a row. His eventual death after losing a battle against cancer places him in the category of legend.
A Window into the Business World
Bill Gates represents the other portion of the personal-computing market. He also adds to his mystique by being one of the richest people in the world. Gates was the co-founder of the Microsoft Corporation and served as its CEO for a brief period of time. Virtually every business in America that uses a computer is running Windows software at one point or another. Once gates relinquished his position as CEO of Microsoft, he used his wealth and fame to do some good in the world. In 1999, his wife and himself founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a charity dedicated to improving education, sustaining world health, and community enrichment throughout the globe.
No Such Thing As Bad Press?
Some CEOs achieve infamy for all the wrong reasons. Enron’s CEO, Kenneth Lay, built a hugely successful corporate business. Unfortunately, it was built on lies and deceit. Eventually convicted on charges related to corporate abuse and accounting fraud, Lay resigned from his position in 2002. He had spent his time as CEO of Enron falsifying documents to take advantage of shareholders ever since 1985. His conviction stood on 11 counts. However, he died before he was able to face the music. The official autopsy reports that his death was due to a heart attack brought on by coronary artery disease. Experts speculate that he would have faced between 20 and 30 years in prison.
Naming his company after himself, Donald Trump has no problems with touting his exceedingly large ego. This aspect of his personality is part of what has made him so famous. The Trump Organization is primarily engaged in real estate, though recent ventures have taken them into media and broadcasting. His fame has reached the top of its arch with his show, “The Apprentice,” on NBC. This “Reality Television” series takes contestants and weeds them out until Trump feels that he has found someone that is suitable to work in his organization. This high-profile CEO even had a minor flirtatious period of running for the presidency.
From the Private to Public Office
Politics is a popular transition for the world’s most famous CEOs. Michael Bloomberg built a media conglomerate as CEO of Bloomberg FMC before becoming elected mayor of New York City. He has been named America’s Top Philanthropist and donated a total of $279 million to various charities and organizations to date. He also pledged that with the founding of the Bloomberg Family Foundation, he would give away nearly his entire fortune upon his death. This fortune is estimated to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 16 billion dollars.
Norm Dillard is a CEO and contributor at GreatBusinessSchools.org, where he has written several helpful articles about the best online business degrees to pursue.